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Keighley Cougars: RFL shake-up sees Aitchison return to his rugby roots
Cougars player-coach Paul March has backed stand-off Jordan Aitchison to make his mark following his return to the club.
The 19-year-old from East Morton spent the 2012 campaign at Bradford Bulls and featured regularly for their Under-20s side.
In a major shake-up of the tiers below Super League, both the Under-20s and Under-18s competitions have been axed by the RFL and replaced by a single Under-19s competition.
That has left a number of players looking for new clubs and has seen both Aitchison and second-rower Matt Bailey get snapped up by the Cougars following their release from Odsal.
Aitchison has signed a 12-month deal and will now look to push for a place in March’s first-team squad.
March, who oversaw the club's opening training session on Tuesday, said: “Jordan will spend pre-season with the first-team squad and we’ll see how he goes.
“I will then separate the players into a first-team squad and an Under-23s squad.
“Jordan obviously started at Cougars and is a Keighley lad who spent 11 years at the club previously.
“Like Matt Bailey, he has found himself looking for a club after the RFL scrapped the Under-20s.
“They talk about providing a pathway for young players but to dismantle the Under-20s goes against that.
“We’re delighted to have Jordan on board and he can play full back and half-back and has pace to burn.
“With me being a half-back, I’ll be working closely with him and have spoken to Jordan and his dad about his aims for the coming season. The ball is in his court.”
March, appointed as head coach at Cougar Park following the departure of Jason Demetriou, is happy that his squad has a local heart.
He added: “We have 11 or 12 lads from the area who have come through the system and will be playing for us this year.
“That’s great and shows that there is an opportunity for young Keighley lads to make their way in the game.”
Meanwhile, the Cougars are reminding supporters that their sponsors night will be held at Cougar Park on Friday, November 16.
This is an opportunity to meet the team and available sponsorship packages range from £10 to £12,000.